I definitely had to “+1” this video on YouTube, and I’m sure you will too!
So, there you go, our family is going +1 style and we are very excited!
I definitely had to “+1” this video on YouTube, and I’m sure you will too!
So, there you go, our family is going +1 style and we are very excited!
Emma will be four on April 9th and it is incredibly hard to imagine life without her, so cliche, but it really just wouldn’t be the same. She’s a super happy, well behaved, very loving, and amazing girl. She entertains herself and also plays with other kids very well, she enjoys both adults and kids her age and is a social butterfly.
I’m bias but I think she’s “perfect” in all the ways we pre-conceive for children… sure she has her moments, she argues, she whines, she does all the things kids do, but in the end she is my princess. When I think about her I rarely think negative thoughts, except maybe when I’ve just sad down on a peed on couch… and even then love is not in question.
I’ve learned so much about life, God, and humanity through this little four year old, her silliness, bed-time stalls, and temper tantrums all included. We love going on walks together, smelling the flowers, the trees (like above), and she loves just watching ducks swim around in a pond and being peaceful. Yet, then when’s with her friends she’s bouncing off the walls, running around, and having a blast, we love that she can adjust to her surrounds so well. She’s certainly thought this daddy many things about how God must feel and see us, and since we’re created in his image, it can only be that much greater!
Nine years ago not only did I find my wife, I was also walking into an adventure of a lifetime I never dreamed of being part of… living in Poland. It was nine years ago that I was fundraising to live in Poland for a year, never in a thousand years did I imagine nine years later we would be support raising again, only this time it’s for an entire family and for an indefinite period. Time will change any person, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Some friends of ours recently were just launched into their own adventure, except for them it’s to another “P” country, the Philippines, but they had no idea even nine months before!
We have a long ways to go before we are launched, having to raise all of our support (unless by a miracle I end up with the ability to work remotely) adds a lot onto the preparation time. During this time we have to attempt to self-teach ourselves Polish, including teaching Emma, as well as live our “normal” lives here, work, school, church… At times it is a huge burden and I either want to have a “magic” wand waved to get wake up in Kraków, or just run away from the idea and finally “start” our lives. For so long it has seemed we are in limbo, but as we look back and see each of the turns, valleys, and mountains we have climbed, we see God’s fingerprints all over the “evidence” and know He’s getting us there – one way, or another.
2010 was a valley year, 2011 was a mountain climbing year, and 2012, not sure yet – and we need to be OK with that. So for those that read this, continue to keep us in your prayers, we see the field, and we know the workers are few, our hearts are steadfast but our body and mind’s weary.
A day of photo-ing in Seattle after Thanksgiving 2010 – Family Picture by Carlybish.com
Well, the year 2010 is not exactly a year I want to repeat. So many different disappointing and frustrating events, while personally I have learned more than I asked for, and I am thankful for that, I would like to see 2011 be a year where dreams, promises, and new beginnings come alive. I find peace in the fact that through all of 2010’s tribulations, relationally, financially and spiritually I have witnessed and experienced , time and time again, God’s provision and, more importantly, His peace throughout.
So without further ado, I present you my 2010 list of observations, ideas, remarks, etc; basically everything I’ve wanted to say for a long time. Somethings are helpful, while some are not, they are just observations, some opinion, and as usual, not exactly fully baked ideas – if only I had time to write full discourses on my ideas!
LIFE: Well as one of my favorite movies puts it, life really is like a box of chocolates. However, I find that the labels on the chocolates at least work as a kind of guide, as do the stereotypical labels in life, I know, I’m not suppose to like the labels, however, stereotypes exist for a reason. In 2010 I learned that some of the common “warning labels” in life are well worth it, even if others around are seemingly OK ignoring them. We still don’t really know what we’re going to get, but at least we can expect to either have nuts or not.
MINISTRY: 2010 was an interesting year of transition for myself, and family. We went from being involved in 4 ministries, to zero. Watching people, grow as people, in Christ, and with one another is a huge gift. We had originally planned to be in Poland by the end of the year we took the opportunity to hand off and step out of ministry. However, as most of you know, our plans changed dramatically when my overseas employment opportunity fizzled away. At times I miss being involved, and I still check in and watch from a distance the people I have grown to love, and at the same time it has opened up the opportunity for Alexis and I to focus on us and minister to one another and Emma before skydiving into our Poland adventure.
CHURCH: Ministry, God, Life, Church – why write about each of these separately? Well, because they distinctly different aspects of Christian life – interdependent on each other. Each aspect cultivates the others in some way or another. Church is probably the most volatile factor of all, mostly, because it depends on imperfect humanity to actually be listening and obeying God. So, inherit to this condition, mistakes happen, and people either choose to put blame on the church or a leader in the Church. One of my biggest lessons for 2010 has been, God ordained the Church, he works through the Church, and he works through imperfect humanity.
Thus, I choose not to blame the Church, rather I am constantly reminded that all of the “bad” things I see, all the frustrations I feel, and all the negative things people say about “the Church” – is mostly the same as in the world – it’s just “worse” when it’s in the Church because the expectations are high – which is kind of strange considering we are all human, so the expectations should really be equal. God sees humanity all the same, every single one of us. So what’s the big deal? The big deal is this: when we choose to see God as who he really is, and not how the world sees Him, then the Church and the world become two completely different entities. This brings so much freedom, we are empowered to love the Church and the world as equals, and live freely! Because the Church is God’s, not humanity’s.
CULTURE: I have been challenged by the idea of “Kingdom” culture more in 2010 than any other year (maybe that’s the way it works, increasing each year). Living life according to “the kingdom of heaven is like…” can be, honestly, frustrating. We live in such a culture/world that does not honor the ways of the Kingdom, and most of the time, the “Church” doesn’t recognize it either, because, as I said above, the Church is made of humans, and we humans live in this world – we don’t, naturally, live in the Kingdom. We have to be intentional about living super-natural, kingdom culture lives. Contextualizing “our culture” and “kingdom culture” is not easy, and so many people want to react and make it black and white, when really it’s extremely colorful and requires a patient response, not knee-jerk reactions. Above all, kingdom culture requires living by the identity God has given us.
GOD: Is the same. However, I am not. I’ve realized much more about God this year, including, the incredibly amazing ability He has to comfort, to provide, to supernaturally grant forgiveness when usually it would be “black and white” to the rest of the world to say “screw you”, and a whole lot more. I’m also enjoying Him much more as a “person”, and feeling His heart more often. So much to say about just these two points – let’s just say “give me his eyes” is only the beginning of humility, and in my opinion, the way it ought to be. If you haven’t read “Blue Like Jazz” – do so, now! That song, and that book combined, literally opened my eyes and mind to see people, circumstances, crisis, humanity, in a way which I know, from deep within my soul, is how God sees and feels, and desires us to see and feel as well.
FAMILY NEWS: Since this is already getting to be a very long post, I’ll bullet point this piece.
POLAND: Although our plans changed, the ultimate destination has not, and we will be fundraising (see next section) with hopes of moving to Krakow, Poland by the end of 2011. With that said, we are more excited than before, God has shown us many things in 2010 that will make our move to Poland far powerful than we could have imagined. One new thing on the horizon is that in July we hope to have a “reverse mission trip” with a Polish family we have come to adore and love. We will be fundraising for this, and arranging time for this couple to glean from church leaders, small groups, and other ministry times, so that they can have more tools to do ministry in Poland. The primary goal is to provide a relational support network for them, and connect them to people who can be praying, and also so people here in the States can meet and get to know who we will be working alongside when we move!
FUND RAISING: If we hadn’t attended a support-raising seminar at Foursquare Missions International headquarters in LA back in November, we would be telling you we have fund-raising fatigue! But, rather, by God’s grace, we have been renewed, and starting in January we will be kicking off a full blown fund-raising season. We know that what God has asked us to do is far too important to not ask people to partner in the ministry with us, support-raising is just as much a part of the ministry as is discipling in Poland. We also know that going with 100% of our budget is the only way, if we go with less, than our ministry will be less – sure, maybe more for God to do, and although we know he moves when we can not, we also know that God can move ahead and we can be 100% supported before we go. If you want to know more, simply visit our website at www.reachpolska.info, or to begin donating now (we need people NOW) click here.
MISSIONS: My idea of what “Missions” is has been gradually evolving, and in 2010 I think it came to look something like this:
Matthew 28:18-20 [nlt]: 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Essentially, go, expose the truth of humanity and God, disciple the people there, baptize them with a clean and pure motive to seek God, all of God. And remember, Jesus is always with us, so fear not. I know this is “over simplification” – BELIEVE me there’s a lot to this that revolves around context, culture, family, etc, but hey, we need to start with the basics and allow God to move us.
TRAVEL: In 2010 we did some traveling, in January we took a three week trip to Poland, a trip with nothing more than to build up the relationships we already had in place. It was a great time of encouragement and laying the ground work for our move.
Then in July we went to the San Juan islands of Washington State for our four year anniversary, it was fantastic and included whale watching!
Lastly, I got the opportunity to be a part of, our friend, Aris’ wedding in Frankfurt, Germany, with that trip I took the opportunity to make a quick trip to visit friends in Nowy Targ, Poland as well – both parts of the trip were incredibly God-ordained!
FINAL THOUGHTS: I like to write, but I fight myself too much on how people might react or respond… I hope people respond rather than react. I hate having to remind people that what I write isn’t a full on discourse to argue a point, but rather, it’s usually a snippet of thought, or concern, to chew on. Anyway, I pray that 2011 is full of love, grace, forgiveness, and truly new beginnings for you and all around us. Remember, there will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, no more fears, and we will see Jesus face to face – the final redemption!
Our little girl decided that being a lion was a little too hard, afterall she already dealt with the costume for two days. By Sunday she was ready for something else.
She became the queen Kitty.
Well, this past year has been one of the most interesting for me and my family. Lots of bumps, lots of fun times, and lots of “what on earth are we doing!” moments. It seems, as though out of our control, time has decided to continue on. So many times in this last year it seemed like time was going by far to slow, it seemed we were waiting for something, but wasn’t quite sure. Now, time seems to be flying by, not because we’re having fun (we are far from having any kind of fun), but because all of sudden, we are at a place that we could’ve never imagined. It’s as if we woke up and our plane was hi-jacked, and no one announced what our new destination was.
For the most part we have been content not knowing the destination, after all, God likes to give assignments and adventures to his children. We are in no doubt that Poland is our ultimate, physical location and calling. However, God is definitely teaching us through the process, and while we walk through this desert experience, following God around, we will try to not complain about the mana. We have a lot to learn and know it will take time, time which is not stopping. So because time doesn’t want to stop for us, and we obviously can’t ignore that it moves on, we are focusing our energy.
God’s provision, protection, and love have been (as expected, yet hard to understand at times) overwhelmingly evident. We are surrounded by amazing friends, and we know the next year will be full of love, hope, and renewal. While time moves on, we will move with it, and we will move with God in his timing. God’s grace and truth is most important and this next year is to focus on those things, applying them in ways we know will be new and renewing.
A mobile post from the ride home, enjoy.
There is really only so much we can do in life, so making “life worth it” can seem overwhelming and unobtainable. There are a lot of different approaches, and to varying degrees I’ve watched many ways fail to bring about the “worth” people talk about. I’ve been a swinger (no not that kind) just rolling around from one thing to the next, unsure why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Now it’s different, there’s meaning, and sometimes that very meaning is what helps me realize – I never had any worth. At least I never had a need to seek worth, because I’ve always had access to it. Simply through God’s grace and sacrifice, which compels me to recognize my faults, and live for him.
So now I live life through that filter, a redeemed man of God who needs not seek worth, but live in God’s worth! I live my life filtered by God’s priorities, his grace, and love.
The hardships of this life are enormous, many of which I have been through and often felt angered at God for one selfish reason or another. From sexual abuse, family crisis, deaths, relational crisis, depression, and just about everything else you can imagine in the lives of those around me. It isn’t because God has protected me, nor is it some super power, nor is it because I’m smarter than the next person. The victory I have experienced is all due to the fact that I and we have made it a priority to put God first, every yes or no we say is because we have filtered it against our walk with God.
Of course we fail in this at times, of corse we get overwhelmed and make mistakes. Yet overall because of te intentional decisions to fiter our decisions to God we have been spared the worst of the consequences, consequences I know would be devastating.
I can’t wait until certain things are “official” – then I’ll be fairly free to write about all the amazing, cool, great, fantastic things going on… But until then – I’ll just have to wait, and you too. So right now I’ll just post some random thoughts from my quick lunch “break”.
Thanks, that’s pretty much it for now – much more after “details” go official.
Alexis, Emma, and I are in Los Angeles for a missionary training intensive with Foursquare – it has really been an amazing time and we are excited for what God has in store for us in the future. We’ve been here since last Wednesday and don’t leave until next Sunday. My parents are with us to watch Emma while we are in training sessions from 8am to 6pm each day, and that has been an incredible blessing for us. Today we get to visit Foursquare first church – Angelus Temple, and that should be a pretty cool experience.
Some great things have happened here, we’re excited to see what God has in store and most of all we’re excited to get this ship to Poland sailing – right now the ship is docked preparing to sail.
I’ll continue my sexuality series when we return to Portland – there just isn’t enough time while we are here. Maybe I’ll surprise myself… you can pray for me, I’ve had a sore throat each morning, and it pretty much goes away by the end of the day but I think it’s contributing to me being tired… Thanks!
Last night we dedicated Emma to the Lord. See the pictures here. It was a beautiful moment. However, I felt so discouraged and upset with myself afterwords because the words I wanted to say completely left my head, however, what was said was still pretty darn good, just not what I originally wanted.
The enemy tried to use this against me the entire night, it took a while for me to shake the lies from my head. Stuff like “You can’t talk in front of people”, “You fumble on the platform, and always will”… it really had me going, I was so distracted for the rest of the evening that I hardly heard the message, except a part about Moses… that my small group all laughed at… but only us. DING (inside joke).
Here’s what I wanted to say, and will say and pray:
As God the father dedicated His son to do his work, we dedicate Emma to be in His hands, wholly modlable. Because of his ultimate love may she see His handiwork throughout her life and live set apart for great things. Empowered by Jesus beyond measure and without limit – in His kingdom here on earth!